I am going to write a new article about the Cubs every month of the 2005 Cubs season. Here is issue #6.

2005 Stunk
October 2005

So yet another disappointing season for the Cubs. It was a different year with less distractions. Having Sammy gone was actually kind of nice and I think they got rid of him in time because his numbers were bad this year. All in all the Cubs didn’t play to the level they could have and this off season should be interesting with a couple of high priced guys coming to the North side

The Cubs most likely have a checklist of things they want to do in the off season. Each team has about 1/3 of the team turning over from season to season. This off season is a pretty big one for the Cubs front office considering the amount of $ they have to play with considering Nomar's 8 million and Sammy's 16 million being off the books. The Cubs need a leadoff hitter, a big time SS or 2Bman, a high priced outfielder, maybe another starter, and a couple of new relief pitchers. I hear the names Furcal, Giles, Witasick, and Embree popping up, but we will soon find out what players come and talk to the Cubs.
I get a little nervous with the fact that Hendry doesn't give out deals for 5 years or longer but the Cubs do have an appeal to players with the fans support, Dusty Baker, and all the tasty restaurants in the Windy City.

It will be interesting to see what will happen to the outfield. They have to add at least one guy. Lets say we can add Johhny Damon, I think we should keep Murton and Buritz. Or if they get Giles, I am fine with Patterson coming back and Murton in LF. It sounds like Pie might not be ready for Spring '06 so there is also the possibility of getting Kenny Lofton to fill the CF hole until Pie is ready. This is all assuming we can deal Patterson. Watch him become the next Lou Brock.

I think this was a big problem in 2005. The Cubs went in the season with Latroy and Chad Fox as important relievers and they broke down. Dempster was a pure joy to watch. He looked great this year and I hope he remains the closer in 2006. They need to add some arms but I hope they don't spend big here like they did in the past with Remlinger and Latroy. This is a tough area to find people because I think reliefers are underrated and mostly underpaid compared to everyday players. But as we have seen with the Cubs, overpaying verteran arms doesn’t seem to work. This is where I hope Hendry can step in and come up with a plan.

Another Starter
The Cubs should also go after another starting pitcher. Things are looking like we have Zambrano, Wood, Prior, Maddux, and maybe Jerome Williams. But the way things have gone with injuries I say we get one more arm. Guys like AJ Burnett are available but the Cubs did pass on Matt Clement who had similar career numbers. Will they go after an expensive arm this year?

Cubs are fine at the corners but we need to address our middle infielders. I love Nomar and would love him back if he could stay healthy but that is a huge gamble. The big name on the market is Rafael Furcal. He would fit our need at SS and our need for a real lead-off hitter. If the Cubs can land a guy like Reyes or Rollins, that would be huge. Ideally if they could get Arod that would be real great. OK I will be the 1st to propose this one. Derrek Lee and Sergio Mitre for Arod. Done.

Coaches and Hendry
I thought the coaches did fine this year. Everyone loves blaming the coaches. But the bottom line was that the Cubs had injuries that hurt their lineup and rotation and the bullpen was not strong enough. So I guess I sort of am blaming Hendry for this. Otherwise I don't think we can really blame management. I like these guys and am glad that they are all coming back next year. This year will be the big test because I can see the Cubs spending some money and if the coaches don't win in 2006 with a high payroll they could be out on their butts.